Photo: Wikimedia | Alex Lozupone (Tduk).

Queer Black feminist author bell hooks dies at 69

Beloved feminist academic and writer bell hooks has died, aged 69.

Berea College, where hooks had taught since 2004, confirmed that she passed away yesterday at her home in Kentucky from kidney failure after a lengthy illness.

“Berea College is deeply saddened about the death of bell hooks, Distinguished Professor in Residence in Appalachian Studies, prodigious author, public intellectual and one of the country’s foremost feminist scholars,” the university said in a statement.

hooks was a leading influence on contemporary feminism, race, and intersectional studies.

A prolific author, her dozens of works included Feminist TheoryKilling Rage, and Ain’t I a Woman?

hooks always spoke of a focus on producing accessible feminist theory, saying in a 2015 New York Times interview that she primarily intended to “produce theory that people could use”.

Her work ranged from academic works to children’s books addressing race and intersectionality.

Tributes have flowed on social media for the Black queer icon.

“May she rest in power. Her loss is incalculable,” tweeted feminist author Roxane Gay.

New York artist M. Lamar called hooks “the mother of much of the current black feminist theory we see today online and beyond”. 

“She is endlessly complex and her work is vast in scope,” he wrote. 

“She is simply everything.”

“bell hooks’ words helped to make me the writer I am, taught me that there is no shame in centering love and tenderness, in approaching and embracing it. With ferocity,” posted scholar Bolu Babalola. 

“She is an everlasting force and blessing.” 

hooks held numerous academic posts in her career, including at City College of New York, Yale University, and Oberlin College.

She explained the lowercase stylising of her name as signifying that her work was most important to focus on, rather than who she was.

In 2018, she was inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.

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